Sagittaria is a genus of about 30 species of aquatic plant
Aquatic plant
Aquatic plants are plants that have adapted to living in aquatic environments. They are also referred to as hydrophytes or aquatic macrophytes. These plants require special adaptations for living submerged in water, or at the water's surface. Aquatic plants can only grow in water or in soil that is...

s whose members go by a variety of common names, including arrowhead, duck potato, iz-ze-kn, katniss, kuwai (くわい in Japanese), swan potato, tule potato, and wapato (or wapatoo). Most are native to South
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, Central
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

, and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, but there are also some from Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

. The generic name means "belonging to an arrow" in Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and refers to the shape of the leaves. The genus lies within the water plantain family, the Alismataceae.


Sagittaria plant stock (the perennial rhizome) is a horizontal creeper (stoloniferous) and tuberous, a thick, fleshy root without buds. Leaves
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 may be aerial, floating or submerged.

The flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s can be unisexual or polygamous, and vary in umbels, umbrella-like forms from a central stalk, raceme
A raceme is a type of inflorescence that is unbranched and indeterminate and bears pedicellate flowers — flowers having short floral stalks called pedicels — along the axis. In botany, axis means a shoot, in this case one bearing the flowers. In a raceme, the oldest flowers are borne...

s (bunches) or loose branching panicle
A panicle is a compound raceme, a loose, much-branched indeterminate inflorescence with pedicellate flowers attached along the secondary branches; in other words, a branched cluster of flowers in which the branches are racemes....

s arranged with female or hermaphrodite
In biology, a hermaphrodite is an organism that has reproductive organs normally associated with both male and female sexes.Many taxonomic groups of animals do not have separate sexes. In these groups, hermaphroditism is a normal condition, enabling a form of sexual reproduction in which both...

 flowers at the base and male flowers above, or occasionally with the flowers all male or all female. Flowers have numerous stamens and the carpels comprising ovary, stigma and style, also numerous, are spirally arranged and free, each with one ovule
Ovule means "small egg". In seed plants, the ovule is the structure that gives rise to and contains the female reproductive cells. It consists of three parts: The integument forming its outer layer, the nucellus , and the megaspore-derived female gametophyte in its center...

. The styles are at the apex ("apical") or low-set ("subventral").

In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

lets are achenial, laterally compressed, obliquely obovate, the margins winged, with apical or ventral beak; in other words, they are a small, dry, one-seeded fruit that do not open to release the seed, set on a slant, narrower at the base, with winged edges, and having a "beaked" aperture (one side longer than the other) for sprouting, set above or below the fruit body.


Sagittaria species are found in canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

s, pond
A pond is a body of standing water, either natural or man-made, that is usually smaller than a lake. A wide variety of man-made bodies of water are classified as ponds, including water gardens, water features and koi ponds; all designed for aesthetic ornamentation as landscape or architectural...

s, ditches and slow river
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

s but are never abundant.


Some Sagittaria species are commonly grown in aquarium
An aquarium is a vivarium consisting of at least one transparent side in which water-dwelling plants or animals are kept. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals, turtles, and aquatic plants...

s or in ornamental ponds. Probably due to introductions from the aquarium
An aquarium is a vivarium consisting of at least one transparent side in which water-dwelling plants or animals are kept. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals, turtles, and aquatic plants...

 trade, S. platyphylla is naturalized in at least one locality in Northern Italy and S. subulata in at least one locality in Southern England.

As food

Several species bear tuber
Tubers are various types of modified plant structures that are enlarged to store nutrients. They are used by plants to survive the winter or dry months and provide energy and nutrients for regrowth during the next growing season and they are a means of asexual reproduction...

s edible as a starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

y root vegetable
Root vegetable
Root vegetables are plant roots used as vegetables. Here "root" means any underground part of a plant.Root vegetables are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. They differ in the concentration and the balance between sugars, starches, and other types of...

 that are collected from the wild or cultivated as crops in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...


Selected species

  • Sagittaria aginashi Makino
  • Sagittaria australis (J.G.Sm.) Small – Appalachian Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria brevirostra Mack. & Bush – Shortbeak Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria cuneata
    Sagittaria cuneata
    Sagittaria cuneata is a species of flowering plant in the water plantain family known by the common name arumleaf arrowhead. Like some other Sagittaria species, it may be called wapato. It is native to much of North America, including most of Canada and the western and northeastern United States...

    E.P.Sheld. – Wapato, Arrowhead, Swamp Potato
  • Sagittaria demersa J.G.Sm.
  • Sagittaria engelmanniana J.G.Sm.Engelmann's arrowhead
  • Sagittaria fasciculata
    Sagittaria fasciculata
    The bunched arrowhead is a plant found in wetlands. This plant produces edible tubers that were heavily collected by the Native Americans as a food source....

    E.O.Beal – Bunched Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria filiformis J.G.Sm. – Threadleaf Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria graminea Michx. – Grassy Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria guayanensis Kunth – Guyanese Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria isoetiformis J.G.Sm. – Quillwort Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria kurziana Glück – Springtape or Strap-leaf Sagittaria
  • Sagittaria lancifolia
    Sagittaria lancifolia
    Sagittaria lancifolia is a perennial, monocot plant in the family Alismataceae, genus Sagittaria, with herbaceous growth patterns. It is native to the southeastern United States and westward through Texas...

    L. – Bulltongue Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria latifolia Willd. – Duck-potato, Broad Leaf Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria longiloba
    Sagittaria longiloba
    Sagittaria longiloba is a species of flowering plant in the water plantain family known by the common name longbarb arrowhead and Gregg arrowhead...

    Engelm. ex J.G. Sm. – Longbarb Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria macrophylla Zucc.
  • Sagittaria montevidensis
    Sagittaria montevidensis
    Sagittaria montevidensis is a species of flowering plant in the water-plantain family, Alismataceae, that is native to North and South America. Common names include Giant Arrowhead and California Arrowhead. It is an aquatic plant that is found in shallow waters. The leaves are sagitatte and...

    Adelbert von Chamisso
    Adelbert von Chamisso was a German poet and botanist.- Life :He was born Louis Charles Adélaïde de Chamissot at the château of Boncourt at Ante, in Champagne, France, the ancestral seat of his family...

     & Schltdl.
    Diederich Franz Leonhard von Schlechtendal
    Diederich von Schlechtendal was a German botanist born in Xanten. He was Professor of Botany and Director of the Botanical Gardens at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg from 1833 until his death in 1866, and Editor of the botanical journal Linnaea.His most important work was in...

    – California Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria papillosa Buchenau
    Franz Georg Philipp Buchenau
    Franz Georg Philipp Buchenau was a German botanist and phytogeographer who was a native of Kassel. He specialized in flora of northwestern Germany....

    – Nipplebract Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria platyphylla – Delta Arrowhead, Delta Duck-potato
  • Sagittaria pygmaea Miq.
  • Sagittaria rigida Pursh. – Canadian Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria sagittifolia
    Sagittaria sagittifolia
    Sagittaria sagittifolia is a flowering plant in the family Alismataceae, native to wetlands throughout the temperate regions of Europe and Asia; in Britain it is the only native Sagittaria....

    L. – Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria sanfordii
    Sagittaria sanfordii
    Sagittaria sanfordii is an uncommon species of flowering plant in the water plantain family known by the common name valley arrowhead. It is endemic to California, where it is known from a few scattered occurrences on the North Coast and in the Central Valley...

    Greene – Valley Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria secundifolia
    Sagittaria secundifolia
    Sagittaria secundifolia is an aquatic plant, growing on or below the water, on rocky creek beds and nearby slopes. It is found only along the Little River of Alabama, and is endangered. It is often found in association with azaleas, mountain laurel and holly...

    Kral – Little River Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria subulata L. Buchenau – Narrow-leaved Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria teres S.Watson – Slender Arrowhead
  • Sagittaria trifolia L. – Threeleaf Arrowhead

  • Formerly placed here

    • Echinodorus palaefolius (Nees & Mart.) J.F.Macbr. (as S. palaefolia Nees & Mart.)
    • Limnophyton obtusifolium (L.) Miq. (as S. obtusifolia L.)
    • Wiesneria triandra (Dalzell) Micheli (as S. triandra Dalzell)

    External links

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